Waste collected from domestic and commercial Irish customers could soon be powering a fleet of zero-emission electric bin trucks, as leading Irish waste collection and processing company, AES Bord na Móna, trials the first fully electric refuse collection vehicle (eRCV) in Ireland this week.
Tyre recycling specialist AES collects over 450,000 tonnes of waste annually from over 135,500 customers across Ireland. Via long-term agreements with major Irish Energy-from-Waste plants, electricity generated from non-recyclable (general refuse) waste will power the eRCVs, resulting in a sustainable ‘closed loop’ system where the waste collected is ultimately converted to the same electricity that powers the refuse trucks themselves.
Ciaran Brady, head of resource recovery at AES, commented: “The move to electric powered waste collection forms part of the ongoing commitment by AES to deliver the most environmentally conscious waste collection and processing services possible. Not only do electric RCVs reduce carbon emissions and contribute to our sustainability goals, they are quieter and cleaner to run, thereby benefitting the urban environments in which they will operate.
“Delivering considered and sustainable waste solutions is a core principle for AES, and this announcement is the latest step in delivering on this promise. For example, we have successfully partnered with an anaerobic digestion plant in the Midlands to convert food waste into electricity, heat, and natural agricultural fertiliser.”
Brady added: “Last month, we completed a major upgrade of Materials Recovery Facility that processes the recyclables we collect. This upgrade significantly improves our recovery yield and purity from recycling waste, while allowing flexibility to respond to changing inbound material composition as volumes of paper within our recycling waste decrease. We consider waste collection holistically and ecologically, ensuring the maximum benefit is extracted from it as much as possible for the benefit of the environment.”
On its first day in operation in Ireland, the Dennis Eagle eRCV showcased its capabilities at the new Mount Argus residential complex in Harold’s Cross. The development, built by Marlet Property Group, consists of 179 highly energy-efficient apartments and a number of sustainability features incorporated into its design. The truck finished its day at the Covanta-operated Dublin Waste to Energy facility, which has the capacity to convert 600,000 tonnes of waste originally destined for landfill or export into electricity for over 100,000 homes. The exercise was conducted without complication and demonstrated in real time the concept of ‘closed loop’ resource recovery.
AES’s parent company Bord na Móna is also a significant player within the renewable energy sector in Ireland, and in particular a significant contributor to the electricity grid. Bord na Móna own and operate three windfarms (including the first commercial windfarm in the State located in Mayo and now in its 23rd year of continuous electricity generation) and one plant operated from renewable gas produced at the Bord na Móna Resource Recovery landfill and compost facility in Kildare.